Can Dior take me to Paris?

Some of my favorite videos to watch on YouTube are beauty videos. Tutorial, reviews, hauls (in which the vlogger simple shows products he/she bought), I watch them all. But lately, I’ve been seeing an influx of vacation vlogs, and they all look the same: the destination is exotic, it’s a group trip with 10 other beauty vloggers, and products from one particular makeup brand is used exclusively. So what’s happening? A destination influencer vacation.

What’s an influencer? And why are they going on such fabulous vacations all the time? An influencer is a person (usually with a robust social media presence) that has amassed a large following that he or she is able to “influence” with his or her content. There are influencers in almost every category you can think of: fashion, beauty, gamingfamily, and many others. With several thousands (to even millions) of people who trust their opinions, influencers have the ability to give a product they love some major exposure and advertisers have taken notice.

 Companies like Conrad Hotels (Hilton Worldwide), Dior, and L’oreal pay for bloggers like London-based inthefrow to go on vacations to Paris and the Maldives in exchange for content like these Instagram photos.

There are plenty of pros of using influencers to a company or an advertiser: it’s easy, it’s cheap (compared to traditional spot and other types of paid advertising), it’s easily trackable, and it comes across as authentic. Sending a group of bloggers on a Hawaiian vacation costs a lot less than a Super Bowl ad. Influencers benefit from the extra income that comes in, with some eschewing their “real world” job to become a full-time vlogger/blogger, and their followers continue to get consistent, quality content from their favorite blogger.

But there are also substantial cons. Influencer marketing can come across as unoriginal and lazy (for companies/marketers), since it’s identical (except in money spent most likely)

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A screenshot from an inthefrow video. Notice “ad” at the end of the title.

to a celebrity endorsment, depending on someone else to promote their brand. Influencers, especially if the product pushed doesn’t align with the brand they’ve curated, can be perceived as fake, disingenuous, and deceptive. In 2014, the United Kingdom made it law for bloggers and vloggers to indicate whether their post was endorsed or not  (usually by putting “ad” in the title or within the content itself), in an effort to make the influencers’ intentions “clear and upfront with their audience.” Also viewers may start to not trust the influencers’ opinions and stop enjoying their content, so choose to stop watching (the opposite effect companies and influencers want).

But in general, I think that influencer marketing is here to stay. It’s a great way for companies to show off their product in a more natural way, and for small time bloggers to profit off of something they love to do. So @Dior/many other beauty brands – wanna take me to Paris?

10 comments

  1. I think influencers is a very creative way to market products. Are they usually celebrities because they usually have a lot of followers or can it be anyone that just happens to be say “Instagram famous”? I like that you gave both pros and cons of this as a marketing tool. I appreciate the different insights. I would think the hardest thing about this form of marketing is the fact that the company can’t directly control how the influencer depicts their product. This could negatively effect the brand very quickly. Great blog!

  2. I agree with your list of pros and cons. I’ve been noticing a lot of Instagrams I follow promoting more products. I appreciate that a lot of them put #ad at the end of their post, but I can usually spot a paid endorsement from the beginning and I scroll right past. It’s true that some of the posts appear unoriginal and I’ve unfollowed people that seem to post mostly products now. Still other accounts are so great, that I’ll put up with a few ads to keep up with original fun stuff. So, you seem to be right influencers are here to saty – they just need to strike the right balance between gaining customers and offending their followers.

  3. I loved reading about this topic and I think influencers are here to stay, although I personally wouldn’t really be quick to buy a product just because someone I follow does. It definitely is a danger because the influencers risk losing a following if they promote too many products and promote products that aren’t of high quality. I have a friend who gets paid to promote certain items, and I can always tell when he is posting something that he is getting paid for, and it’s definitely a turn off for me. Overall though, I still follow people and just ignore the occasional promotional posts because I realize they are only trying to make a living from their online/social media brand they’ve built.

  4. I agree with your pros and cons. I think it is an effective way to advertise in a cheap manner but I feel the larger brands should be stating on their advertisements whether they are using this type of endorsement or not. There are many ammeter’s that can endorse these type of brands versus a top paid celebrity for brands like Dior that you mention. Personally, I think it is somewhat cheating the consumer because we tend to be caught by a professional’s attention for an advertisement in comparison to a blogger. That being said, there are brands such as Teatoxes or local boutiques that I would prefer to see an everyday blogger advertise versus a top paid model or high paid celebrity.

  5. Influencers are definitely a very creative way for brands to market products, and a seemingly inevitable use of social media marketing. In this situation, I think the cons/disadvantages are more for the bloggers as they risk losing the trust of their followers because the risk of straying from the identities they have created increases with each product/brand advertisement. For brands using influencers, it is a cost-effective of way of advertising to a very large audience. The only risk here lies in promoting your products via an influencer who could misrepresent your brand in some way.

  6. Great post! I like that you brought up both the pros and cons of influencers. I think the idea of “destination” posts make a brand seem luxurious and appealing, almost like if you wear Dior you’ll feel like you’re in Paris. The image is chic. However, I see where you’re coming from with the unoriginal or lazy vibe it could give to users. They could also see it as unauthentic. However, I think as long as every post is not a travel post and that the destination aligns with the brand (such as Dior and Paris or VS models in bathing suits on tropical islands) it can be a really useful tactic.

  7. I think that true influencers are definitely here to stay. I’m not 100% certain, though, that people with huge social media followings are necessarily “influencers,” particularly as people intentionally try to cultivate large groups of followers for just this purpose. I think true “influencers” are those who actually influence someone to do or buy something, and I think the metrics for those will become more apparent in coming years.

  8. I really liked this post! I follow a few “influencers” on Instagram and have trouble ever detecting if their posts are a promotional effort for a brand or if they truly believe that the product they’re posting is the best of the best. I agree with your list of pros and cons of using influencers to market a brand, but I think overall, when done right, influencer marketing can be highly effective. Especially with so many millennials on Instagram and Facebook, I think that influencer marketing can be a cost-effective way to reach a large audience of us.

  9. Im so glad you bring up this idea of “influencers” .. it was a phenomenon i became exposed to during research for my vine presentation. The question i ask is it possible to make a career out of being an “internet influencer”? and if so, how long can you really make a career out of it?

  10. Nice job! I’ve been hearing a lot about influencers lately – and have sen many brands use them. When I was at HubSpot’s Inbound conference in the fall, I attended a session where they broke down the different levels of influencers – ranging from celebrities to small scale influencers who have a huge impact because (to Prof Kane’s point) their audience really do what they recommend. It’ll be interesting to see how brands continue to use this method. Word-of-mouth is so powerful when done right, so I can’t see this going away anytime soon.

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